Ford alternative fuel cars

Ford own five brands that are sold in Australia with the majority of the models being imported. These brands are Ford, Mazda, Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar.

The Ford Environmental Vehicles web site lists fuel cell vehicles, hybrid vehicles and ethanol vehicles as their alternative fuel vehicles.

At this point we’d like to make it clear that Envirofuel does not consider hybrids to be alternative fuel vehicles as they are simply a more efficient petroleum fuel consumer. When the next generation of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles become available we will include them based on their off-board electricity fuel supply.

The 2005 Focus FCV is Ford’s latest fuel cell vehicle. Limited numbers of these vehicles have been on the roads of the United States, Canada and Germany since 2005.

The bulk of Ford’s alternative fuel vehicles are what they call Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). These are vehicles capable of running on E85, regular petrol or a combination of both. FFVs currently available for sale in the US include a F-150 5.4L V8 and three large sedans all running the same 4.6L V8 engine.

Mazda on the other hand are pursuing hydrogen as their alternative fuel of choice in developing the RX-8 Hydrogen. The RX-8 is propelled by a RENESIS engine that can run on hydrogen or petrol. According to Mazda’s Social and Environmental Report 2006 they are planning to “develop and introduce more vehicles equipped with the hydrogen rotary engine”.

Volvo to some degree are following the lead of their parent company in developing FlexiFuel vehicles that run on E85 and/or petrol. However, instead of the US 4.6L and 5.4L V8s Volvo are using a more economical 1.8L engine in their S40 and V50 models. Volvo also have on sale two Bi-Fuel models. These are the S60 and V70 models running on CNG or biogas with a petrol reserve tank.

Land Rover UK appear more concerned with offsetting the CO2 produced from their manufacturing and assembly operations and the operation of their vehicles than producing cars that produce less pollution. Of course offsetting CO2 emissions from their vehicles relies on the vehicle owners paying extra because they feel guilty about the environmental impact of their Land Rover. Can anyone see a problem here?

Web searches on Jaguar and alternative fuel sadly reveals no hint of the big cat becoming environmentally friendly.

Ford has the technology to bring existing FFV or CNG vehicles to Australia under the Ford or Volvo banners but they obviously don’t see either as a viable option. Neither brand are offering anything more exciting than the Falcon E-Gas LPG vehicles.

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